Scott MacKay commentary


Gov. Gina Raimondo is scheduled to release her first state budget on Thursday. Part of the challenge is to slash a projected $190 million deficit.  So what will get cut? RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay tells us what to watch out for.

There is that ancient Statehouse cliché: If you want to figure out what a governor’s priorities are, check out the budget. Rhode Islanders get their first look at what our new governor, Gina Raimondo, values when she releases her spending and taxing plan for state government on Thursday.

John Bender / RIPR File

So is Rhode Island approaching a boon or a boondoggle?

Don’t get in line just yet for your luxury box seats at the new Providence ballpark that the new owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox want to build on the downtown Providence waterfront . The new owners and Mayor Jorge Elorza say any plan for a new  stadium is in infant stages.

While the move from Pawtucket’s iconic McCoy Stadium to a new site in Providence has drawn stellar initial reviews from the state’s political hierarchy and Elorza, the plans are a long, long fly ball from completion.


R.I. politicians love to talk about job-development plans. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders why they aren’t  doing more to ensure that Rhode Islanders are hired for the Electric Boat expansion in Quonset.

File/Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Islanders have been transfixed lately by snow drifts and the Super Bowl. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to look ahead to spring and the return of baseball.

Has dealing with that white mountain in your driveway reminded you that one never has to shovel humidity? Do you yearn for a sport where the balls can be scuffed, but not deflated?

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Cutting taxes is all the rage at the Rhode Island Statehouse.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders why lawmakers are talking about tax cuts before dealing with the red ink in the state budget.

Take a stroll through the corridors of  McKim, Mead and White’s marble palace on Smith Hill and you’ll likely bump into a lawmaker with a plan to cut taxes.


Today is the annual Martin Luther King Jr., holiday. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay ponders what we can do to advance King’s legacy in Rhode Island.

The great civil rights leader’s legacy will be celebrated across  Rhode Island today in song, sermon and remembrance.  Voices will echo with the strains of James Weldon Johnson’s `Lift Every Voice and Sing’ and that iconic anthem of the civil rights movement, `We Shall Overcome.’


There was a sad note at the Rhode Island State House this afternoon as the 2015 General Assembly opened  the legislative session: Conspicuously missing from the press tables at the head of the chambers was veteran Statehouse political reporter and columnist Jim Baron, who died yesterday. He was 57.

Unless you were living in the abandoned East Side tunnel during the Providence mayoral campaign, you listened to round after round of desultory electioneering rhetoric about high crime in the city.

One of the delicious ironies of the mayoral tilt was Buddy Cianci, who knows his way around a prison cell, fueling fears about crime on the campaign circuit and in Tee Vee spots, going after Jorge Elorza for a teen-aged shoplifting incident.


Tis the season to be Jolly. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay reminds us that not everyone enjoys the holidays.

For most Rhode Islanders, this is a sacred time of the year. As we gather together with friends, family and food, most of us will be giving thanks and turning our thoughts to those New Year’s resolutions.

Yet, before the first strain of Auld Lang Syne is sung on New Year’s Eve, we all need to take a  moment or two to remember that not all of us are surrounded by family, opening gifts, dipping into the eggnog and tossing another log on the fire.

CVS Health

What to make of the news that CVS Health, which is headquartered in Rhode Island, is opening a high-tech center in Boston.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has some thoughts.

Rhode Island-based CVS Health employs more than 7,000 workers in our state. The pharmacy giant calls Woonsocket home, but the recent news that it is opening a high-tech center in Boston sent shivers through segments of the business and  economic development community in a state with New England’s highest unemployment rate.

First Student Company

It sometimes seems as if all of our contemporary debates over education revolve around high-stakes testing. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says our schools are neglecting an important topic that isn’t tested.

Trying to figure out what’s happening in education nowadays is an exercise in futility. You have to learn a new language suffused with psycho babble and techno-speak:  educators use terms  like rubrics, social-emotional learning and  site-based management..


Rhode Island’s Democratic General Assembly leaders want to exempt pensions and social security from state income taxes. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if this makes sense in our cash-strapped state government.

House Speaker Nick Mattiello, D-Cranston and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, have both said that one of their top priorities when the Assembly convenes in January is legislation that would end income taxes on pensions and social security.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Conservatives love to say that liberalism and political correctness have led to a `War on Christmas’ RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the war is actually against Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving turkey hasn’t been stuffed yet but the frenzy of Christmas shopping has begun with the annual blizzard of tinsel and glitz. Stroll into your local CVS and you are greeted by shelves festooned with overstuffed Santa Claus figures.

Aaron Read puzzles over the new NPR clocks
Dave Fallon RIPR

Starting on Monday Nov.17th, the clocks for Morning Edition, All Things Considered (both weekdays and weekends) and Weekend Edition  will be changing.  

Today's Engineer's Corner is co-authored with our Operations & Production Manager, James Baumgartner.  He and I are the ones directly responsible for organizing all the clock changes' impact on Rhode Island Public Radio, and we've put together this synopsis of what the changes mean for our listeners.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Once again, Rhode Islanders have elected a governor with far less than a majority of the vote. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders what we can do about this.

The boisterous cheers among delirious Democrats crammed into the Providence Biltmore’s 17th floor ballroom on election night have barely quieted. You can’t blame them for hoisting drinks and shouting themselves hoarse:  Gina Raimondo became the first woman to win election as Rhode Island's  governor and the only Democrat to capture the state’s highest elected office since 1992.